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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Where I Went

Hurt. Loss. Fear. Incomprehension. Insomnia. Anger. Confusion. Denial. Pain. Hopelessness. Arrogance. Paranoia. Apprehension. Terror. Abuse. Sick.

Heartbreak is one of the defining events in a person's life. If you've never felt your heart break, the sickening emptiness that accompanies it, then you've never truly been tested. It's the only way of knowing that a breaking heart is not a metaphor, its not a piece of romantic imagery to describe an otherwise ambiguous emotion. No, it's quite literally the feeling of your heart, that very organ in your chest, splitting apart, bleeding out into your open body. It breaks. It absolutely breaks. It breaks and you become so weak you can't stand. You can't think. You can't breathe.

I blacked out. When I woke up she was holding me. My head was resting in her lap and her hands were gently placed on my shoulders. I had been crying heavily. I found my face sticky with tears and mucus. "Oh God," I said in horror and pulled my face away from her. I asked her for some tissues, she got up off the floor and left the room to get some. When she returned I couldn't look at her for shame. I wiped my face clean but still I was too embarassed. She couldn't look at me either. For pity or shame, I don't know. I told her I needed to go, she said to wait. My legs were shaking and would never have held me upright. My hands were shaking. My chest hurt, my heart broken.

It will define you for a long time. What happened. How you dealt with it. If you grew or shrunk away from it in fear. It helps define the person you become. Heart break is a terrible, terrible thing. It makes you feel like your life is no longer worth living. After all, what good is a life with no heart?

I got in the car and I locked the doors. I looked up but no one was in the window. No one looked out for one last glimpse. I locked the doors again. Then just to be safe I locked them again. And another seven times. My hands shook and I couldn't see, but I had to leave. When I reached the red light at Leonard I looked down and pressed the button again. The doors made that familiar *thnk* sound when you try to lock them and they're already locked. I closed my eyes. I pressed it another nine times.

You feel lost. Hopeless, angry and spiteful, but terribly sad. And quite alone. You hate them all. If you hate them then it can all make sense. If they're your friends then you know that there's a kind of betrayal at work and it hurts even worse. So you hate them. You hate them and you loathe yourself. All humanity is gone. We are merely animals, all rational thought is merely imagined, a facade. We live by emotion and physical response. You don't want to think. So you don't.

Its three in the morning. I know I won't be sleeping again tonight. Outside, snow continues to fall, silently accumulating on our deck chairs. A thin, pointless blanket. Ephemeral and weak. I hate it. Through the window I can feel the cold press against me. Looking out through the glass, my breath fogs before my eyes. With a shaking finger, I rub clear two small dots and a U. Smile. I return to my room and open another bottle of wine. Hopefully tomorrow I won't wake up.

But we grow. Nothing fades away completely but it does get a little grayer around the edges. At first you think you'll never find another one. That there is no other. But then you go numb. You say, "Fuck it." She wasn't so special. You were just stupid enough to think that you meant something to her. Fuck that. You'll find someone else. And if not, who cares?

"Let it die."
"I said 'Let it die'", she chirped at me.
"Shut up, you're just a fucking bird." She ruffled her little yellow feathers angrily and flew off.

How do we grow? In fits and spurts, with incredible effort and terrible pain. Our bones crack open, shift, expand, and reform in new, awkward positions. Our skin is bruised, bloodied until, with time, it calluses and reforms stronger, rougher. And this is how we grow. It's the price we pay, the blood we spill, the pain we endure. In this way we never stop growing. We grow until we die. And only then are we done. I think.

"It has been said, 'time heals all wounds.' I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone."

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

"I have loved to the point of madness"

Why I keep giving up. And why I always give up on giving up too.

This is what I get for trying to take a more healthy and happy approach to life? This is what I get? The dreams again? Worse than ever. They're getting worse. The dreams.

Open on Chris, a young man, at a sink, washing. His friend ++++ enters, bringing with her their mutual friend *****.
"Chris, you know *****"
Turns around, "Of course, *****! It's so good to see you again!" They embrace.
"And this, of course is ~~~~"
He walks up to Chris and extends his hand for a shake.~~~~ says, "It's so good to finally meet you."
Chris turns abruptly back towards the sink, looks down and says quietly, "Get the fuck out of my house."
~~~~ says, "I told you," before angrily turning around and leaving the house. But he is not gone for long...

Fuck. This is why I can't sleep. Don't you see? It has a lot less to do with insomnia and a lot more to do with the fact that I'm absolutely terrified of what happens when I close my eyes and my mind is once again free. I've worked so hard these last months to take control of myself again. I'm trying to take better care of myself. I'm working out regularly for the first time in, well ever, I guess. I'm trying to eat better, I'm keeping myself away from bad distractions like alcohol and knives and am spending more time with healthy distractions like music, friends, meditation, and finding a job. Pretty much in that order too. I've tried so hard. But when I sleep I lose all that power. That door I work so hard to keep shut bursts open when I sleep and that waking nightmare that I lived for four months comes back in full force and there's nothing I can do about it.
I'm trying. Truly, I'm trying. But its hard. And God, does it hurt. Give me strength. Please. I am so very weak. So very hurt.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I Am Real

This is me being an optimist. This is me turning over a new leaf. This is me being open and honest. Honest with myself. This is me asking questions and not being afraid to answer them. This is me, I hope.
Why was I so hurt by her? I mean really, was it her or was it me? Answer: it was me. True, I love her. I was crazy about her (literally, so it would seem). Yes, I would've done anything, given everything for her and yes, in fact, I had very much looked forward to spending the rest of my life with her. I had wanted to spend every day finding new ways to make her happy. I called her my soulmate and I truly believed that. Yes, all that is true. But was I, am I, so delusional that I think she's the only one in the world I can love like that? By my very own explicit definition of love; by my own spiritual and intellectual conception of the word "love", there are few individuals in the world whom we can fully love. That is, with whom we can connect in a unique combination of the mind, body, and spirit. A love that makes greater its constituent parts. A love that improves us as people and through its very being improves the world. A love that connects us with the greater Good and proves to us the existence of God. Thats the love I felt for her. But, as I said, its a feeling that is possible between few people. Yes there are a few, not one.
As much as I loved her, and honestly as much as I still do, she's not my one and only. I must have always known this, but its never been something I was willing to admit. Hell, I'd loved once before, right? Granted, that one was kind of a once in a lifetime occurence but really, what is life but a series of once in a lifetime occurences? And, this is me being an optimist, I know I will love another.
So perhaps the better question is not why did she have this effect on me, but why did I let myself obsess so much over our relationship? I guess the easy answer would be because I obsess over everything. The more complex answer, and perhaps the answer to why I obsess in general, is that I am desperate. I am absolutely desperate for happiness. I am unhappy person. Yes, the depression is new, but I've never been a happy person. I didn't have the best childhood but neither did I have the worst. I am cursed by a malaise of slightly more sucky than average suckiness and it has plagued me my whole life. I'm not happy but every once in awhile I'll come upon someone who makes my life feel real. When I'm around this person I feel safe for once. My paranoia and anxiety goes away. I stop worrying about myself and about the people around me. People no longer seem dangerous or cruel, they're just people. People just like me. They're real and so am I. When I'm around this person my whole existence changes, it becomes significant, it becomes meaningful. The malaise goes away and I'm happy.
She told me that my problem was that I needed to find happiness in other people. She's probably right. For someone who can't stand being around people; who hates strangers, is afraid of crowds, and is annoyed by happy people, it is only through an other that I, myself, can find happiness. No, it isn't healthy, I suppose but its who I am. She thought she was doing me a favor. She told me that I needed to find happiness in myself and I could only do that once She was gone. Hah. Fuck.
This is me being an optimist.

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Tonight Show with Chris Echesabal!

I'm just going to go ahead and say it, I love Conan O'Brien. I've never been into late night talk shows but of all of them, the only one I've ever watched in any kind of serious manner is Conan's. I used to watch Late Night almost daily (nightly?) and I was thoroughly excited when he finally moved out to LA to take over the Tonight Show. Needless to say, I'm firmly on the side of Team Coco.

At any rate, I've watched the latest NBC late night chaos over the last couple months with the kind of open eyed disgust that one uses to stare at a car crash. I hate Jay Leno, yes, and I love Conan, true, and I'm fully aware that its because Conan represents the kind of young, coastal, intellectual humor and culture that I appreciate. While Leno fits into that middle America, lowest common denominator kind of humor. So I'm not going to come out and say he's not funny, because humor just isn't one of those things that can be subjectively criticized. I'll just say I don't think he's funny and that if you do think he's funny thats fine by me, you're more than welcome to be the mouth breathing ignorant slug you were raised to be. That's fair, right?
Anywho, the reason for this post is that Jay Leno will be returning to the Tonight Show in March after Conan's last night as host tonight. Of course, he'll naturally fail at this job again, NBC will continue to hemorrage money and ratings and before too long he'll be back in "retirement". Now when this happens in a year or so, they're going to need a new host for the Tonight Show and, presumably, Conan won't be invited back. Therefore, I nominate myself as heir apparent to the Tonight Show chair and desk.
I think I am fully capable of taking on such a position. I am clever, witty, and topical. I am always up to date on national and international politics and I have a scathing view of modern pop culture. My humor derives from many sources and experiences and can, at times, be dry, wry, absurd, physical, linguistic, and historical. I am experienced at improvisation, comic writing, and acting in sketches. I have expressive facial features and limbs that are comical in the sheer absurdity of their size. Seriously, have you seen my hands? Which reminds me, I'd be fantastic at monologues. Have you ever heard me say "Have you heard about this? Have you seen this?" It's like I've been doing it for years. I was born to host this show and, given the chance, I think I could excel at it. Thank you.

And Conan, I will miss you as host of Tonight Show but rest assured I will be watching you, wherever you go.

And no, that wasn't supposed to sound like a threat to stalk you.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Note On Being Alone

Distractions. Distractions are what I seek. Its distractions that I need, otherwise again will I fall into this disgusting and painful pit. And of course, there are healthy distractions and unhealthy distractions. I’ve become terrified of the life of the mind and so I seek refuge in the physical world. It has been a painful and unhappy transition to such a world. I am an intellectual, an introvert, and an inappropriately quiet individual. For two decades I have sought safety from the world around me, its pain and embarrassment by creating a life entirely within my head. My thoughts kept me company. I fed them with copious amounts of reading and they repaid me with friendship and stability.
But now I have been living a life where my own thoughts are my harshest critics. It is something like having a group of arch enemies entirely within your brain. Remember those bullies in middle school and high school? The ones who had tortured you for so long that they didn’t even need to say anything anymore, they merely needed to look at you and they could break your spine. It’s like having all of them in your head at all times. They tear you down and make you cry. That’s what my brain does.
And so I have turned to the physical world. To the pain and the pleasure. I need distractions. Alcohol is a distraction. The wonder of alcohol is its numbing quality. Coming from someone who only very recently began drinking recreationally, wait let me say something. Can I just say that “recreationally” is not at all the appropriate term for the kind of drinking I did. I didn’t do it for fun. I did it because if I drank a bottle of wine in twenty minutes then within half an hour I’d be vomiting into a toilet. And let me tell you, when you’re vomiting into a toilet you’re not thinking about how depressed you are. Yes, I drank to forget. But more than that I drank to feel pain. I drank because vomiting up your guts is a fantastic way to hurt yourself. And physical pain is a shitload better than emotional pain. Anyways, what was I saying? Right, alcohol is wonderfully numbing. Numbing to the mind, that is. It’s a depressant, of course, and I’m cool with that. Being clinically depressed, I find depressants oddly stimulating. It seems to legitimize my sadness somehow. When you’re drunk out of your mind you’re still depressed but you have less self-loathing. Which I guess is helpful.
When I’m depressed my jaw hurts. My jaw hurts because I’m clenching my teeth. I do this because otherwise I’d scream. A pressure builds in my chest, it presses down on my heart, squeezing it, making it difficult to pump its blood. It forces the air out of my lungs. My arms and legs seem to swell as the pressure inside me continues to build. My muscles begin to spasm and I can’t keep my hands from shaking. My face burns. I wake up on the floor, shaking, pulling at my hair.

My hope. My heart. My fear. They are all the same. A trinity of personal failings that together inspire everything I do.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The End And The Beginning

The following is the thrilling conclusion of my short story Barcelona. Please pardon the tardiness of this post, I meant to post it today (Monday) but due to the holiday was unable to prepare it until today (Tuesday). Please let me know what you think of this story, its honestly the only short story I’ve ever written that I’ve actually been happy with and so I’m always open for constructive criticism. Also I’m desperate to have people comment on this blog. So, you know, there’s that.
My next project, after this blog, therapy, and working on my uncompleted projects from the end of my failed semester at Georgetown, will be musical. I hope to prepare some musical works and, should the project proceed well enough, I will be adding a youtube page to my repertoire of internet pages. By the end of the year I should be just about caught up with the culture of 2006. Wink.

Barcelona. Originally composed October 22, 2006
“And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.” The Beatles
One of the last things he ever heard her say was at the very eve of the night. Not because it was ending, giving way to day, but rather because it was ending as a social construction, the two were preparing to part company. In a few hours the girl would be on a plane to France and the boy would remain with his friends for one more day in Spain. He would spend that day very much alone. But it was not quite over yet. She turned to him and asked, in regard to a comment he had made some great while earlier, “Are you happy?” This is what the boy said: “There is an awareness, somewhere in my mind of an appreciation for life. In the ephemeral, day to day sense of living, blind to the future and negligent of the past, I often find myself unhappy with living. There is a stark reality to life that no one can deny in the context of the here and now. And yet, every once in awhile, I stumble upon an event or a person in my life and it reaches into me and shows me that appreciation I had forgotten I had. And it is in those places, with those people that I remember that I am happy. I am happy with who I am and where I am. I am happy that I am the person that I am. I am proud of my accomplishments, my actions, and my ideas. I am happy with my experiences and my wisdom, for what it is. I am happy that I have been successful enough to survive for nearly two decades and that my successes have amounted to sitting on a beach in Barcelona with my feet buried in the sand and my eyes looking up at the stars.” Lara smiled as if to say “Me too.” A moment later, she looked back at the boy and, as if there had never been a pause in the conversation said, “And your failures?” He smiled knowingly, in that way he used to smile knowingly and he said, “I’m happy…” He paused a second, screwed up his face as he groped for the word he was looking for, “I’m happy that they have not kept me down.”

It was later than two o’clock that morning the two of them parted ways. Time had taken up arms against them and forced their departure to take prominence in the mind of the world. It cared little for the short peace, the joy that bubbled and blossomed somewhere on a beach in Barcelona and refused to give in to these two youngsters who merely wanted to exist and be completely free forever. All they wanted was to be heroes, heroes in that definition Lara had told the boy and which he would take up as his own that very same night. But that, it would seem, was too much for the world to allow and so it turned nonetheless and the hours passed until it ordered them away.
They said their goodbyes in a small section of pavement apart from the beach but near the docks. In the background was a large metal sculpture of what may very well have been some kind of lobster. The boy handed her a piece of paper, a receipt actually, from one of his pockets and turned around. She wrote out on this paper her email address, using his back as a support. When she was finished, the boy turned around again and they looked at each other, knowing what this meant. He went first, “Goodbye Lara. It was a pleasure to know you.” They hugged as old friends. “Goodbye.” Lara said. She did not laugh and the boy did not smile. His friends waited for him further down the street, she waved at them and they waved back. The two were silent for a brief moment longer and in his mind the boy wanted to smile. Instead he turned away and walked west, down a long alley and into nothingness. He did not turn to watch her leave.

This was a story that may or may not have happened. Much the way anything may or may not happen. It may have happened already, it may happen soon, it may be a complete fabrication of an overzealous mind. There is a Canadian girl named Lara who is now somewhere in France. There was also a boy who spent a Friday night on a Spanish beach. They are two completely separate and moving lives that may, for the briefest of tangents, have converged, an event as rare as two comets flashing through deep space, passing for the briefest moments and recognizing themselves in the other. Regardless, it was a story and as such it retains little more validity than a dream. And like a dream, it hopefully led to a very real destination.


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Finding Words Is Never Easy, Finding Thoughts Even Harder

On a quick note it should be said that finding doctors is not nearly as easy as it should be, especially for those suffering from mental disorders. Considering that I’m still a highly functional member of society, I shudder to think what those with crippling conditions suffer from. Furthermore, I don’t care what any of you say, the supportive and compassionate words I’m given by friends and family, there is still a very real stigma against things like this. Or at least there is in my mind. Even if it is simply a symptom of paranoid delusions I think people should really be more considerate of my feelings. I don’t care if they are figments of my imagination or signs of my tenuous and deteriorating grasp on reality, it’s still very rude of them!
On another note, the following is part two (out of three) of my award winning short story Barcelona, in which our heroes discover themselves in the stars of a clear Spanish sky.

Barcelona. Originally composed October 22, 2006
“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.” William Shakespeare
Back on the beach, they sat at the edge of the sidewalk. The boy’s feet were buried halfway in the sand and he played with the gritty texture between his toes. Down in the water, Alex played in the sea like a little child, his laughter rang up and down the beachfront for no one but this small group of students, these strangers in a dead city, to hear. “He’s daft,” the boy couldn’t help but smile at his peers. “He’s a hero,” Lara said, smiling in turn. The boy laughed in spite of himself, “A hero is a 20 year old kid playing in his boxers in the sea at 12:30 in the morning?” “He’s completely free,” she answered solemnly and the boy thought upon such things.
Sometime later, for the night was truly beyond hours at this point, that strange and clumsy time between night and morning where the simple fact of being awake renders useless any understanding of numerical time. It simply was. It was at that point that she turned and looked him in the eyes. He had been watching his feet as they moved sand about and then moved it back, but the suddenness of her movements made him look up and meet her gaze. Fortunately for the boy, it was at this point that time froze and he was able to take in the wonder of the girl seated next to him on a beach in Spain. He took this opportunity, one of those increasingly rare moments where the world is paused before one’s very eyes, to observe this object of his most recent affections. The boy took in first those eyes, almond shaped and brown, encapsulating all the earth, rich and fruitful beyond understanding. They held in them a secret wisdom, a hidden message, some sort of forbidden intelligence that looked out upon the world outside and said “I know more than you and I always will”. It was the same look that had always been in the boy’s eyes and he was pleased to see them reflected in another face. Her face was round and soft with a prominent nose and olive skin that hinted at a obscurely middle-eastern lineage, one that may have been long diluted or indeed, one that had never existed at all except in the fantasies and speculations of a young boy. Her long black hair, tied in a ponytail curved gently into the shape of a heart behind her head. She was not particularly beautiful, but neither was the boy and nonetheless he was captured by the aura of exquisiteness that she exuded.

The world unpaused just in time and the boy heard her ask him, with all earnestness and curiosity, “What is your dream?” They had known each other just over a day and they spoke without fear. Perhaps it is the knowledge of such ephemeral moments that loosens one’s tongue and frees the topics of discussion with another. Perhaps it is the unconscious, spiritual recognition of two people that they are not, nor have they ever been, truly strangers that allows such frankness. I like to believe it’s the latter. Nonetheless he delved into his heart, spoke of those dreams and fears that he had spoken only once before but had filled the cavity of his mind for so many years. The boy spoke with some trepidation at first, not sure if this was what Lara had wanted, her kind smile reassured him and he found himself speaking with that confidence that had made his eloquence famous for years. The boy was a born pessimist and was quick to dismiss those dreams of his, those that for the first time ever were tasting the air of a world outside the walls of his mind, he laid himself bare on that beach and single-handedly picked away at the foundations of his own spirit. And yet, Lara was there, and she took the whole matter in with an assured smile. That kind of smile that gave the feeling of assurance and understanding and she repaired those foundations with that smile. He smiled back and said, “Its just a dream.” It was right there that she looked away from him in a slow, thoughtful manner; she looked out at the slowly churning waves of the Mediterranean sea as it breathed in and out and then turned her gaze up at the stars above. Quietly, as if merely breathing the words she told the boy, “Dreams are not intangibles, imagined and inconsequential. Dreams are avenues towards very real things.” For days he would ponder those words.

After some time, for time had lost all bearing on the night, indeed it seemed to the boy that the night would continue on forever, the stars would never fade away into a blue sky and the sea would never return to its clear blue-green state, if merely the two of them refused to yield up the night to the day, after some time the two of them laid down upon the sand, their heads pillowed uncomfortably on the edge of the concrete street behind them. They laid there in the sand and looked up at the heavens. The boy pointed out what may have been Orion. “That’s Cassiopeia,” Lara said and pointed somewhere else, “The one that looks like a “w”.” The boy smiled. “There’s a shooting star,” she said. He began to reply but she cut him off saying, “Quiet, I’m making my wish.” She shut her eyes and smiled. The boy quieted, then laid his head back down. After a moment she looked up again, “Did you make a wish?” She asked. “No, I didn’t see the shooting star.” The boy answered honestly. “That’s alright, I’ll share my wish you.” She said. The boy smiled again.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Please Accept This Story As A Token Of My Apologies

I apologize for my absence this week, it really has been my attempt to post relatively frequently on this blog. I’m notoriously bad at updating blogs and as soon as I let myself slip even the slightest bit I know that this whole thing will go to hell. I’d very much like to avoid that.
I haven’t been feeling well recently and that’s why I haven’t been posting. My depression, though improved, seems to be getting worse again. I suffer a complete lack of motivation for even the most basic functions of life, hence the not blogging. Is blogging a basic function of life? Well, I’d say it’s at least a tertiary function. My sleep the last week or so has been truly awful. I get no actual rest from my sleep and my dreams are becoming more vivid and more upsetting. If dreams are a way of looking into one’s mind then let’s just say that my mind should be closed off forever like the warehouse at the end of “Raiders of the Lost Ark”. I just made an Indiana Jones reference. That’s a bad sign.
At any rate, I don’t know when I’ll be healthy enough to start doing proper blogs again so in the meantime I’ve decided to post my award winning story Barcelona in parts over the next few days. I wrote this immediately after my trip to Barcelona, Spain in October 2006. I will accompany it with a few of my photos of the city taken during that same trip. Please enjoy. And, if you read this, please do comment so I know that people are reading.

Barcelona. Originally composed October 22, 2006
“Surely even those immune from the world, for the time being, need the touch of one another, or all is lost.” Eudora Welty.
The following was inspired by a true story. The majority of the dialogue is real or as real as my memory will allow. Some of it has been paraphrased by the siphons of my mind and such losses must be expected. The people may or may not be entirely real. Because they are used in this narrative as little more than vessels for the non-fictional dialogue, their own realities are hardly of relevance. The action, for what it is, is fictional in the sense that none of what we do is real. If it is not the present, if it is not this instant in which we are currently living is it even true anymore? Or is it merely inspired?
Her name was Lara. Lara without a “u” he would later tell people. He made her laugh, she made him smile. For what it was it was something. The boy had been looking at her now for about seven hours. At the bus stop, he remarked to himself about this girl who stood next to him. Together they waited to leave the Eternal City. They avoided eye contact. Still, he took note of the “Led Zeppelin” patch pinned to her full black backpack. Next to it was pinned a small Canadian flag. Walking through security at the airport she stood apart from him, a score or more of people separating the boy from his new fascination. Nonetheless when they met at a convergence in the lines he gave her a knowing nod and she smiled back.
It was not until they reached the tarmac, walking those narrow metal steps into a plane that they made contact again. The plane was decadent in blue and gold. Colors intended to look splendid, one would assume, during the day now looked all the more lonely and desperate by the fierce night and the outburst of rain that had suddenly started. For the first time he spoke to her, “It seems to be raining on our parade.” Though rain fell in thick sheets, his humor would remain dry. “Its not a parade,” she remarked back. “It would be if we were marching,” he said. She laughed.

She told him her name was Lara. Lara without a “u” she said. The boy told her his name. They were both pleased to meet each other. Two hours later they sat next to each other on a bus driving through a dead city. Dead only in the way that metropolitan cities can be at one o’clock in the morning. Neon luminescence shone on her face through the bus window; making her dark skin shimmer with unnatural shades of blue, green, and red. They were remarkably alive for the dead hour as they rode on a bus, quiet as the dead, through that colorful, dead city.
She was Canadian. He told her he was hardly surprised, then commented upon her backpack, its red and white patch strangely lit up as she held it nurturingly on her lap. He made a remark, it may have been disparaging, about Canada and she laughed. He asked if they had money in Canada. She told him no, they only use maple leaves as crude sorts of checks. He smiled. They spoke of many things. At one time it reached Canadian politics and the boy impressed her with an understanding of its geo-political landscape. He was only half-lying too. Later they made fun of America together. She laughed and he closed his eyes, shook his head sadly and smiled.

Almost 24 hours later they walked alone down a beachside street, lined on one side with shops and restaurants, most darkened and closed up by this hour. They were in charge of finding drinks and bringing them back for the group of students that stood waiting amicably on the beach. The other side of the street was sand. They walked in the sand. She wore brown shoes without laces that kicked up sand with every step. The boy walked barefoot. He held two black dress shoes in his hand, the socks stuffed inside a pocket of his jacket to keep them clean for the walk home when there would not be the comfort of the sand to protect his feet. As they walked the two laughed and joked about the ridiculousness of capitalist theory. As they walked he explained to her the difference between an awkward silence and an awkward stillness. He explained to her that they were both of them detrimental to the soul and that the ability to properly stand silent with another person was a reflection of comfort and serenity. She explained to him the euphoric uses of crying and the means of achieving a properly balanced soul. He spoke to her of the last time he had cried. They walked on for some time in silence. The boy smiled.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Day There Wasn't A Cloud In The Sky

The sky is a pure blue. In fact, it’s a blindingly blue shade of blue. A perfect blue. It is that blue which inspires our understanding of blue; what Plato would call its “essence”. I lay in the grass, its itchy, but in a good way. I stare up into that blue sky and wonder aloud, “What does it all mean?” From the outer edge of my vision, I see a cloud wander slowly across the sky. It reaches the center of my vision and explodes into a million little cloud pieces. I’ve never seen that before. It was almost like the sky was angry that the cloud tried to disturb its perfection. The sky was perfect. It was beautiful, the paragon of natural creation. Man could never achieve something of such beautiful perfection to match or even compete with the brilliance of the sky that day. The cloud, attempting to mar this, was justly punished by the sky. Once again, the sky was flawless. In God’s box of crayons this was the exact shade of his blue. As I lay there watching the day’s perfect sky, a bird flew out of a nearby tree and crossed the sky. A second later it too exploded. Perfection is not to be trifled with.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Ode To A Weekend Spent In Bed, Listening

Ode To A Weekend Spent In Bed, Listening
The weekend: its where we go to die when the week is too much and days don’t seem to ever begin, they only end over and over again. So instead of fighting we throw our hands in the air and surrender. We crawl into our beds, sorry and alone, but it provides us no warmth. Hiding under the covers no longer gives us the protection it once did. There is no fortress in the solitude, in the dark, there are only ghosts and monsters. And there is nothing we can do about it. They wait there in the shadows, knowing full well that we have no way to defend ourselves from their gnashing teeth, their bloody talons. They wait for us because they are in no hurry. We have nowhere to run, nowhere to hide from the scary things that surround us. They wait knowing that we will always be here and so will they.

The weekend is where we slow our breathing. Our blood grows cold and still in our veins and nerves cease firing their nervous little messages. We sigh a sad, quiet sigh and the world shrugs, powerless to help. Sit in a chair and cut yourself. Lay in bed and do everything you can to stay awake, to keep away the nightmares you know are coming. Stand there silently, looking out the window, fidgeting with cold and anxiety. There is no freedom in being awake, no rest in being asleep. It is only time. Uncontrollable, uncompromising time. And it is doing everything in its power to kill you, one second at a time.

I found a laser pointer in a box next to my bed. I don’t know where it came from. I certainly never bought it and I’ve never in my life owned a laser pointer. It gives me little comfort here in the dark. It illuminates nothing, merely indicates.

It illuminates nothing, merely indicates.

Friday, January 8, 2010

How We Are Hungry

Love. Art. Blarg. A candle. Therapy. Framing pictures. The smell of shampoo. Heartache. An upended bottle. In the snow. Under the sun. In the stars. Dead.

Hope. Belief. Faith. Living faithfully. Broken promises. Pictures. Half asleep. That song that plays on your phone. Taking pills. Getting sick. Dead.

Shit. Merde. My dog. Your dog. Day at the fair. The best lemonade of your life. That ugly truck. Ugly flags. Ugly people. God, you’re beautiful. The most beautiful eyes I’ve ever seen. Happy.

TV. The smell of books. Borrowed. Bought. Presents. Gifts. Unwanted. Unneeded. So alone. So cold. Broken. Unharmed. Bloodied.

The songs that remind me. Music. Songs sung. Holy. Beautiful. The world. Plants. Animals. The connection. The spirit moves through all things.

Chairs. Trains. Finally. What should never have been. What. The What. Hearts. Cuts. Knives. A gash and some slices. I’m happy when I’m bleeding.

Up. Down. Fire. That dress I love. Happily never after. The end of the line. The end of the road. The end of ends . Moving on. Probably not. But whatever.

And then it happened. And then it didn’t. And then it hurt. And then. What are we now. Love is unreal. Or possibly not real. Or maybe it is. But whatever.

Love. Hope. Life. Faith. Pain. Harm. Heart. Eyes. Love. Lips. Heart. Soul. Good. Night. Stars. Sun. Winter. Trees. Love. Hope. Life. Love. Love. Love.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


When inspiration hits, when that graceful muse comes down and touches you, you just have to make use of it. I wrote the following poem on my arm with a pen I found in my seat cushion while I was driving home from Easton today. When inspiration hits, sometimes you just have to make use of it. I hope you enjoy it, its currently untitled.

When we first met you were just so…
You weren’t perfect yet but you were just so…
I’d never seen someone quite like you and inside it felt just so…
Just so warm, just so safe, just so perfect.
I was home.

When you found me I was just so…
I wasn’t even here, I was just so…
My heart had been broken and it felt just so…
Just so cold, just so scared, just so broken.
You made me whole.

And when you left me it was just so…
Where did it come from? It was just so…
And what could I do? I was just so…
Just so fucked, just so fucking fucked, just so god damn fucking fucked.

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Road

Last night I went to see the film adaptation of The Road. The book is one of my favorites and is one of the few genuinely frightening books I've ever read. The movie isn't quite as good as I'd hoped but I still liked it. Its still an interesting portrayal of the enduring nature of the human spirit. It shows, through a man and his young son, how humans can continue surviving when there is literally nothing else in the world. At any rate, it inspired me to write this story. Or rather, its something of a detailed outline of a longer story I'd like to write in the future. Let me know what you think so I can fill it out later.

There was no such thing as clean water anymore. There was only water that was more or less filthy. When you managed to find less filthy water you stopped whatever you were doing, got naked, and bathed in it. That’s what I was doing this morning. “Look honey,” I said. “Don’t you keep telling me I need a bath?” I said it with a British accent and she laughed. I talk in a British accent sometimes to make her laugh. There’s not a lot to laugh about these days. It’s the little things that keep you going. I walked out into the cold, slightly filthy water and closed my eyes. She sat down under a tree and smiled at me. It’s the little things.
You need the little things. Anymore they’re about the only things there are. Walking is the only other thing there is. We walk all the time. All we’ve done is walk for years and years. Sometimes I try to remember other modes of movement besides walking. Didn’t there used to be skipping? And jogging? Now it’s just walking. Walking on abandoned roads, through forests on dirt paths, and through dry river beds. If it goes south, we walk on it. I don’t know what’s south and neither does she. Probably nothing. It’s probably no different than the nothing that’s everywhere else but we might as well walk south and find out for sure.
One day we were walking through an abandoned small town. The shops on main street were all smashed and gutted. Not a whole window or door was in sight. Inside the darkened shops were just broken bits of wood. Anything that could be of any use to anyone had long since been taken. I cleared away the debris from a dumpster behind a long-since burnt Mexican restaurant and inside we found some dusty old cans of beans and a pair of boots. They weren’t in good condition but were far better than the ones that she had been wearing. I pulled them out of the dumpster and handed them to her. “Here you are, my love. Happy birthday.” She laughed, “Is it my birthday?” “I don’t know, what day is it?” “What month is it?” She asked. I laughed but she was right, it had been years since either of us had known or cared what the day was. She smiled and tried the boots on. They were too big. I pulled off my own boots and a pair of my socks, I was wearing four on each foot, and stuffed them into the toe of her boots. She tried them on again and smiled. I toss her old boots into the dumpster and we kept walking.
As we walked, I pushed along a beaten up old shopping cart that had all our possessions in it. A jug of brown water, a coffee can half full of kerosene, a few cans of food, a sleeping bag and some blankets. We each carry a backpack with some clothes and various other items: a flashlight, some matches, stuff. I’ve been carrying a book by Cormac McCarthy with me for years now. I don’t read it anymore but I feel better carrying it with me. In her backpack she has a stuffed animal, a dog, that she’s been carrying with her this whole time. It comforts her during the days when it’s hard to keep going. It’s the little things.
One day when we were walking along the road we came upon an old man walking by himself. It was the first person we had seen in years. There had been a couple of close calls of course when we’d heard voices or footsteps in the distance but we’d always hide. Totally silent, barely breathing, for hours we would lay in hiding wherever we could. You can’t be too careful. Hers was the only face I’d seen. Hers the only face I could remember. So when we found this old man she wanted to talk to him. Needless to say, I didn’t. You can’t be too careful, you know. “He’s harmless,” she said.
“Hey, old man!” I yelled. He turned around, startled, and sputtered something unintelligible at me. He stared, open mouthed at us. Gross, he didn’t have any teeth. She punched me in the arm and told me to be nice. “Don’t worry, we won’t hurt you.” I turned to her and raised my eyebrows. Happy? He continued to stare at us as we slowly approached him. She punched me in the arm again and told me to offer him some food. “But we don’t have very much!” She punched me in the arm again. Ow. Fine. “Old man!” Ow. “Sir, can we offer you some food?” He stared at us some more. Actually now that we were close he looked remarkably like Anthony Hopkins. “Holy shit! Are you Anthony Hopkins?” His eyes widened and he started sputtering violently. Suddenly he clutched his chest and fell over. He was dead.
“First person we’ve seen in years and its Anthony Hopkins. What are the odds of that?” I said as we walked along the road later that day.
“Yeah and you had to kill him.”
“Yeah but what a good story that’ll make. Right?”
It wasn’t long ago that she started getting sick. Her breathing was ragged and she was coughing more than usual. Her hair had been thinning badly and it turned black with filth. I used to love her hair. It was the color of gold in the sun and smooth as silk. I would bury my face in her hair and wake up every morning to the scent of her shampoo: wild cherry. It was my favorite. Now you would never know she had had the most beautiful hair I’d ever seen, ever felt, ever smelled. She was growing weaker every minute, sicker every day. She could no longer carry her own pack so I strapped it to my back, on top of my own and let her walk carrying only what she wore.
The next day she couldn’t stand on her own anymore. I stuffed what I could from the shopping cart into our packs and left the rest behind. Lifting her in my arms, I gently laid her into the empty cart. It was slower going that day. I wasn’t in much better shape than she was and though I could still walk, it took all my strength to keep us going. She did her best to stifle her cries of pain from riding over the uneven road. Her loud coughing stopped only when she leaned over the edge of the cart to vomit. Before long she had nothing left in her stomach to throw up and she just sat there in the cart retching violently. She died the next day.
I gathered up whatever I could find to burn and laid her down, wrapped in all our remaining blankets, in front of the fire. She was too weak to eat so I dripped as much water as I could down her throat. Eventually she lay quiet and calm in front of the fire and fell asleep. I stayed watch that night. I watched as her breathing became slower and more difficult through the long night but it kept up. At first light her eyes blinked open and she began hacking again. I held her in my arms as she coughed up first spittle and then blood onto my jacket. I did what I could to hold her still but her coughing was growing more and more violent. I brushed her hair out of her face and kissed her on her forehead.
Finally she grew still in my arms. She was gone.
“Look honey,” I said. “Don’t you keep telling me I need a bath?” I said it with a British accent and she laughed. She sat there under a tree and smiled at me as I walked slowly into the pond. Her hair was the color of gold in the sun and she was wearing pink and blue again. I hadn’t seen those colors in so long I’d almost forgotten what they looked like. When I stepped into the water I felt a warmth spread up from my legs into my chest. With it came a surge of color. The water turned a clear blue, the grass returned to a bright shade of green, and the tress once more burst into vivid color. Warm and happy, I turned back and smiled at her. I waded deeper into the water and closed my eyes. She would be waiting for me.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

A Bedtime Story

Originally Composed 5 November, 2009

An Ode to the Lost Earring on the Metro

When I got on the metro today you captured my eye. Reflecting the early morning light. A tiny flame, the doors opened and you reflected the sun’s glare up from the floor. I sat down and it became obvious to me that you were somebody’s earring. They had left you behind. I don’t know how you came to be there but I must admit I felt a sense of grief seeing you there alone. Seeing you there lost and alone on the floor of the metro. Where were you travelling today, I wondered. Where were you going today that now you will never reach? Maybe you were sightseeing; on your way into town to see the museums and monuments. Or perhaps it was simply a day like any other. Like me on your way to school or to work. Surely wherever you intended to go today you hadn’t expected to be left here alone on the floor of the metro.

When I got on the metro today you were like a beacon, lost at sea. Your bright colors were calling out for someone to find you but nobody noticed. Nobody noticed and so there you lay, lost and alone on the floor of the metro, calling out mutely to the world. A beacon calling out for help. Where did you come from, I wondered. Perhaps you were a gift. Perhaps you were a beautiful reminder of someone’s love. A birthday present or maybe an anniversary gift. I wonder if someone saw you in a shop window, shining in the morning light. I wonder if you caught their eye like you caught mine and they said to themselves: These would be perfect for the woman I love. Did her eyes sparkle when she first saw you? How beautiful she must have looked, her face aglow with love. I wonder if you knew then how happy you made her feel. How proud you must have been to be a part of that.

When I got on the metro today I was struck by how lonely you looked. There is something inherently sad about a single earring. Your whole existence is defined by being a part of a pair. Your purpose can never be fulfilled without the presence of an other. And so I was struck with grief when I saw you, shining in the morning light. For here, lost and alone on the floor of the metro you know that never again will you be complete. Never again will you be whole. Never again will your purpose be attainable. And though I found you today, calling out mutely to the world, I was as helpless as you. I can wish you good luck, earring, but we both know it would be of little use. For though I can travel with you a short time, here you must remain; incomplete, lost and alone on the floor of the metro.